Technical jargon and procedures (“Angel was surprised to have Scrappy ask him to collaborate on setting up the honeypot, which consisted of a single CPU and a raid array enough to look like the real deal and populated with real but static data”) will perfectly suit readers who share the characters’ interest in computers, though it may fly over the heads of others. A heartfelt subplot involving Noob grieving the recent loss of his parents provides emotional balance. The cast is ethnically diverse, but the characters’ backgrounds have little bearing on the story.
The peppy narration combines Fireball’s point of view, sprinkled with capital letters (“Benjamin’s graduation was a Big Deal”) and snarky asides, with broader comments on the teens’ relationships with one another and their families (“Mom was probably in her fifties, but the kids didn’t think of her as an adult, so much as an older kid whose experience in the world demanded respect”). The brisk plot whisks to a conclusion that neatly ties all loose ends. Adolescent hackers will have fun keeping up with Team Raven and look forward to where they might go next.
Takeaway: Computer-savvy teens will appreciate this mystery with a touch of family drama, featuring a team of adolescent white-hat hackers.
Great for fans of Elizabeth Briggs’s Future Shock, Marie Lu’s Warcross.
Design and typography: B-
Marketing copy: B+